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Councilors continue to discuss Utica's budget as deadline approaches

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica's Common Council met with Civil Service and Engineering Department heads Tuesday night as part of their ongoing discussions on where the city can save and make any changes to Mayor Palmieri's hard-hitting budget. The 2012-2013 budget proposes an 18 % tax increase and cut of 38 city jobs.

4th ward Councilor, Joe Marino says while the group didn't find any major revenue enhancing items there may be some areas where the city can save.

"In the Engineering Department we found that we can charge back some of the engineers time with certain projects," says Marino. "We can charge back time to future grants, so we can try and cut payroll by going in and charging back time on current projects that we're doing in the city."

Marino says the Common Council also explored avenues in the Civil Service Department, however there's not much room there for change.

"The civil service department, they're running with two employees that have four or five major responsibilities in the building," says Marino. "There's really not much waste there."

Marino says the Common Council will be looking into restructuring the fee system for civil service tests, and try and recollect the fees the city is charged.

The Common Council will next meet Saturday with Utica's Police and Fire Department chiefs to discuss any ways to cut costs in public safety.

The Common Council's deadline to have a budget in place is March 22nd.

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